Custom Letterpressed Holiday Card for Invent Penn State

Feliz Navi-dud: How to avoid your next holiday being a flop

rowlandcreative | Doing | January 4, 2018

We spent December listening to holiday music on the radio, enjoying the Christmas tree in the office, and finishing up a stack of holiday card designs for our clients. All told, we prepared five separate holiday card concepts this year, and you’ll be seeing the results soon in print, digital, or both. This design work is fun and meaningful, and we want to share a bit about why we think it matters–and how it can help our clients connect with their customers.

Holiday cards can be playful. We’re usually strict about our clients’ brand guidelines, and for good reason. But holiday cards are a unique opportunity to deviate from your normal brand look and feel into something more whimsical. Whether it’s a snowflake made out of your electrical components or winter creatures telling a story, imagery on your card can be unique, personable, and very fun. It needs to connect to your brand in some way, of course–but there’s room to play, to surprise recipients, and to make people smile. And what’s better than making someone smile while thinking about your company?

Centre Foundation’s holiday card is a great example of whimsey and creativity. It’s not visually related to their brand, but its thematically on point, with the heartwarming story about community members supporting each other.


Holiday cards are a non-sales touchpoint. Reaching out to customers is always a good thing–as long as you’re not annoying them with an overly-aggressive sales process. It’s one of the reasons that we believe in content marketing: it’s a way to stay in touch and provide value without aggressively pursuing a sale. Similarly, holiday cards are a wonderful reason to reach out to your customers. Let them know you’re thinking of them and that you appreciate their attention, in a way that requires no response and puts no pressure on them.

API Technologies used their card to showcase products–not as a sales piece, but as components of a holiday design. It was a subtle (and visually fun) way to make the card specific to them, reminding customers of what they offer without any sort of sales push.


Printed cards have staying power. Cards that are designed as artistic objects (think letterpress printing on heavy paper) are a pleasure to get and display. Your recipients may keep the card around for weeks–on the bulletin board, desk or fridge–and think of your company each time they see it. Staying top-of-mind that way can be priceless.

Invent Penn State wanted the print version of their card to be memorable, visually and physically stunning. A crisp design with letterpress printing gave an end result that will be saved and displayed by many recipients.


Is it too late for us to send a card?

Probably too late for this holiday season. So bookmark this and set a reminder for next year. Here’s what you need to think about:

  1. Start earlier than you think you should. Time flies in late November and early December. If you’d like to create a card with minimal stress and time to get it right, start in October, if not earlier.
  2. Take advantage of the ability to play outside of your standard branding. Be memorable, fun, and make people smile.
  3. Personalize the message if you can. Do you have different types of customers or partners in your world? Write a few versions of the card to thank them for how they, specifically, engage with you.
  4. Think up front about delivery. Do you have mailing addresses for all recipients, or does the card need to be delivered digitally?
  5. Consider a theme. Some of the most successful holiday cards have a theme that repeats year after year–meaning that recipients not only enjoy your card, but wonder what variation of the theme you’ll come up with this time around.

We hope you enjoy seeing our holiday card work as much as we enjoyed designing it. Happy holidays from Rowland Creative!

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